Ahead of the Celtic’s game a couple weeks back, the Wizards hosted their first ever Style Showcase, an opportunity for players to make an off-court connection with fans by styling their freshest fits. Kuz, Deni, Trezz, and more – not coincidentally some of the first infusions of unique personality in some time to this perennially bland organization (Kelly Oubre Jr. notwithstanding) – walked the runway in the dopest ensembles from their ostensibly large and gaudy walk-in closets. The more personality and swagger dripping from the outfit the better; extra points for taking fashion risks.
Then, only a few days later the same players planted a flag on the polar opposite end of the fashion spectrum by donning what is already assured to be the worst fit of the NBA season: the Wizards new City Edition jerseys.
The new City Edition jerseys are heralded by the team as a “remix” edition, mixing aspects of previous classics and fan favorites. A more apt moniker would be ‘dubstep mix’ edition, because these uni’s are nothing but loud and obnoxious.
The color scheme is a devious one – a mix of a brash royal blue and a blinding red that hardly a soul would fancy wearing by themselves and surely nobody would fathom combining together. In name the colors are right, but in practice they’re way off. It’s as though the design team consigned a four-year old to color in a blank outline of the jersey with red and blue, not realizing the toddler would pick out from the crayon box the brashest hues that caught his eye first. Add to that unfortunate concoction a gold varnish and you’re left with a shirt that the eye can’t quite decipher, at least not past recognizing its ugliness.
These jerseys also fail in their botched attempt to pay tribute to Wes Unseld by resembling the classic Bullets jerseys of his era. Incredibly, the designers misunderstood what made those throwbacks so timeless, namely the red and white stripes that evoke the American flag and the Bullets name with the stick-em-up font. Instead, they’ve given us stripes. Stripes for stripes sake, in a colorway that holds no significance for the organization or city. It’s hard to fathom how they could have overengineered this too death when it could have been so simple: if you want to honor the past, especially the late great Unseld, then give the people what they want and just put the classic Bullets jersey on the court and in the team store.
And for these thread’s last act, they introduce a hideous and altogether unwarranted ‘DMV’ logo. It’s a nice thought to shoutout the fans commuting to Capital One Arena from outside of the city boundaries, but has anyone ever described themselves as being from the DMV? Coming from MD suburbs personally, when I’m travelling I might tell folks I’m from DC, but I’ve never and will never self-associate myself with VA. Those from the area understand that the Wizards fanbase crosses state lines and we’ve reached an unspoken agreement to forget regional rivalries and uniformly ‘Rep the District’. Those not from the area will think the Department of Motor Vehicles is the new team sponsor. Fortunately, this terrible new badge is confined to the shorts.
In introducing the new Shitty Edition jerseys, the Wizards flaunted that it’s all the little details that set this new look apart. They’re right, because it takes the combination of all these individually ill-conceived details to assemble a jersey busy enough to rank near the franchise’s worst ever. All the disparate details make the jersey hard to process at first blush, in sharp contrast to the simple, clean looks of past favorites that could be immediately recognized as fresh. And when fans have finally had ample time to process those details, they’ll realize that when they thought these jerseys were fire, what they really meant was hot garbage.